Public Policy and Legal Affairs Summit
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Overview & Registration

Join us at the 2024 Public Policy and Advocacy Summit from ACSI on Vimeo.

Join us For a Very Special Public Policy and Advocacy Summit

September 16-18, 2024


  • Monday Evening Opening Reception and Gala Dinner at Museum of the Bible
  • Tuesday Training and Special Guest Speakers
  • Pre-Law Track Session Included in Your Ticket Price
  • Advocacy Training
  • Encouragement for How to Do Public Policy
  • Opportunities for learning how to Advocate on the Hill and Back at Home
  • Alumni Track Options
  • CEU credit
  • Opportunities to connect with fellow Heads of Schools
  • Meals and Snacks for Monday Evening and all day Tuesday
  • Opportunities to connect with Speakers, ACSI Staff, and the PPLA Team


2024 schedule coming soon!



2023 Summit Highlights


Speakers & Special Guests




2024 Keynote Speakers


Ben CarsonDr. Ben Carson

Keynote Speaker, Monday Evening Gala Dinner

Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, retired Neurosurgeon, academic, and author

Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, retired Neurosurgeon, academic, and author

Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., is the Founder and Chairman of the American Cornerstone Institute, a new think tank/do tank whose mission is to promote the four founding principles which are cornerstones of our country: faith, liberty, community, and life as well as pursue common sense solutions that challenge conventional groupthink. He most recently served as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

For nearly 30 years, Dr. Carson served as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, a position he assumed when he was just 33 years old, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital's history. In 1987, he successfully performed the first separation of craniopagus twins conjoined at the back of the head. He also performed the first fully successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa.

Dr. Carson received dozens of honors and awards in recognition of his achievements including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. He is also a recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and has been awarded over 70 honorary doctorate degrees. The U.S. News Media Group and Harvard's Center for Public Leadership named him among "America's Best Leaders" in 2008.

Born in Detroit to a single mother with a 3rd grade education who worked multiple jobs to support their family, Dr. Carson was raised to love reading and education. He has authored many books, four of which he co-wrote with his wife Candy. Dr. Carson has written several children's books including Why America Matters and Red, White, and Blue: Our Flag Matters to Me and You, and Freedom of Bark to teach kids about our important American values.

Dr. Carson graduated from Yale University and earned his M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School. He and his wife are proud parents and grandparents.

Katherine SchweitKatherine Schweit

Keynote Speaker, Monday Afternoon Pre-Law Track Session

Attorney and Retired FBI Special Agent who created and led the FBI's Active Shooter Program after Sandy Hook Shooting

Former FBI Agent Katherine Schweit, creator of the FBI’s active shooter program, will present on school safety, active shooter, and threat assessments

Katherine Schweit is an attorney and retired FBI special agent who created and led the FBI’s active shooter program after the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

She joined a White House team working on violence prevention matters led by then–Vice President Biden. She is the author of Stop the Killing: How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis and How to Talk About Guns with Anybody. She hosts a podcast in its 4th season called Stop the Killing.

She the author of the FBI’s seminal research on mass shootings, “A Study of 160 Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013,” and was part of the crisis team responding to shooting incidents at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Pentagon, and the Navy Yard in the Washington, DC, area.

She is an executive producer on the award-winning film, The Coming Storm, widely used in security and law enforcement training throughout the United States and by the U.S. State Department worldwide. This work earned her a second US Attorney General’s outstanding contributions award.

Before starting her own consulting firm, Schweit Consulting LLC, she was the director for security training at a Fortune 300 company. A one-time print journalist and former Assistant State’s Attorney in Chicago, she has published extensively, including opinion pieces in the New York Times and Chicago’s Daily Herald. She is a recognized expert in mass shooting and active shooter matters, crisis response, workplace violence, and corporate security policies and often is asked to provide on-air television commentary when tragedy occurs.

She regularly speaks to professional, government, and private organizations. She is a member of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety.

She is adjunct faculty at DePaul University College of Law and Webster University. She has two daughters and lives in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington, DC.

Carl TruemanDr. Carl R. Trueman

Keynote Speaker, Tuesday Evening Closing Dinner

Professor, Author, and Theologian

Professor, Theologian, and Author (Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self and Strange New World)

*extended biography coming soon*

Patricia RuckerPatricia Rucker

Keynote Speaker, Tuesday Special Sessions

West Virginia State Senator

Senator (West Virginia), Champion of WV ESA Legislation

Patricia Puertas Rucker is a West Virginia State Senator serving the 16th District. She is a former teacher who is raising and homeschooling her 5 children with her husband of 27 years. Her life activities include membership in the St. James the Greater Catholic Church, 4-H and WV4Life-Jefferson County chapter.

Other activities include participation in local clean-up projects, volunteer work for Jefferson County Community Ministries that helps to feed the homeless and attendance in as many local public forums and meetings as she can. Patricia is a co-founder and former president of We the People of West Virginia-Jefferson County.

Patricia is a first-generation American citizen, born in Caracas, Venezuela, coming to the US, Montgomery County Maryland, in 1981 when her father, Jose Puertas, an international correspondent, was assigned by Agence France Presse to the Washington DC desk, eventually becoming its Latin American Editor. She has been a Harpers Ferry resident since 2001 and her hobbies include gardening, beekeeping and raising chickens and ducks on her small hobby farm.

Patricia taught social studies in the Montgomery County Public School System before starting a family. On November 8, 2016, she was elected to the West Virginia State Senate in the 16th District and was sworn in on January 11th in Charleston to begin her first 4-year term. She is currently in the last year of her second term.

Education: Montgomery County, MD, public schools, Magruder High School (serving one year as the mascot!) and a degree from Trinity College in Washington, D.C with a B.A. in History and minor in Latin American studies.

 Acknowledgements and awards:

  • Received the “Champion of Industry” award from the West Virginia Manufacturers Association in 2017
  • Received the Legislative Leadership Award for Arts in Education in 2020
  • Received the Iron Lady Award from the American Legislative Exchange Council in 2021
  • Recognized for Conservative Excellence by the American Conservative Union and was a Hunt-Kean Fellow 2019-2020.
  • Champion of Free Enterprise awardee from the WV Chamber of Commerce 2021
Mark_Spencer_2023Mark Spencer

Keynote Speaker, Tuesday Lunch 

Director of Public Policy, Christian Schools Australia

Director for Public Policy, Christian Schools Australia

Mark's experience with Christian schooling began in 1990 when he commenced service with Christian Community Schools Limited (CCSL) - a predecessor organisation to Christian Schools Australia (CSA).


After holding a variety of different positions across the years Mark is currently serving as the Director of Public Policy for CSA.  In this role he is responsible for political advocacy, media representation and submissions on behalf of Christian schools.  This covers a wide range of areas relating to religious freedom and equal opportunity and discrimination law as well as education policy, both at the Commonwealth and State or Territory level.  He also provides support to school boards and oversees the Staff Relations Service CSA offers.


Mark has been Company Secretary of both CCSL and CSA as well as a Trustee and Fund Secretary of Christian Super, the latter from 1994 until 2016.  From 2009 until 2015 Mark was the Chairman of the Trustee Board of Christian Super during which time the Fund grew to more than $1billion in funds under management. He has also served Christian school and church boards in a variety of roles.


Prior to his involvement with Christian schools Mark worked in a medium-sized Sydney accounting practice gaining experience in a wide range of areas from auditing to company liquidations but specialising in taxation.   He completed his Professional Year and was admitted to membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants after previously completing of a Bachelor of Business degree with a major in accounting and a specialisation in computing. He is now a Fellow of the Institute.


Mark also provides initial advice to schools in all non-educational operations including funding, finance, governance, management, media management and industrial relations. From 1993 to 2010 Mark was responsible for the Christian Schools Staff Relations Service which assisted CSA and CEN schools in NSW and the ACT with industrial issues; undertook the development of workplace agreements for schools in NSW, the ACT, WA and elsewhere and has appeared on behalf of schools before the AIRC, FWC and the NSW IRC.  He continues to oversee these areas.


Mark completed a Master of Labour Relations and Law degree in 1999, and undertook an executive education program at the Said Business School of the University of Oxford in 2014. He completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies in 2016 receiving a Dean's Excellence Award for each year of his studies along with a number of subject awards. Mark is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors having completed the Company Directors Course in 2013 and a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.  He has also presented at numerous conferences and seminars across Australia and internationally.


In his spare time, he has been involved in politics as a candidate, marginal seat campaign manager and party office holder.


Mark is married to Melanie, a life-long educator and now Principal of a Christian school in Canberra.  Mark and Melanie have three adult children, all of whom attended Christian schools.

Vanessa-Cheng-2024 - Bio PicVanessa Cheng

Keynote Speaker, Tuesday Lunch 

Executive Officer, Australian Association of Christian Schools

Executive Officer, Australian Association of Christian Schools


Vanessa Cheng is the Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Christian Schools (AACS) which has over a hundred independent member schools with 44,000 students enrolled.

She has served AACS since May 2020 and prior to this role had extensive experience working in the education, government and political sectors, including as Christian high school teacher, a policy advisor in the Victorian Department of Education, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, as well as an advisor to a federal Senator and as a senior policy advisor with the federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Vanessa holds Graduate Diploma in Education from LaTrobe University along with a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Arts majoring History from Monash University, Melbourne.

She lives in the beautiful Victorian gold mining regional city of Bendigo with her husband Andrei, who works as a GP and their five children, including two sets of teenage twins. In her spare time she enjoys drinking tea, gardening and jogging with her dogs.

Additional speaker announcements coming soon!



Special Guest


Screen Shot 2024-01-09 at 1.54.23 PMKelly Chambers

Opening Night Gala Reception, Special Music

Professional Violinist, VA

Biography coming soon.

2023 Keynote Speakers


Barry BlackBarry Black, Ph.D., D.Min, D.D., L.H.D, D.P.S RADMU, USN (Retired)
US Senate Chaplain
Mark BattersonDr. Mark Batterson
Pastor of National Community Church, New York Times Best seller
Bachmann, Michele HeadshotHonorable Michele Bachmann, J.D., LL.M
Former United States Representative


Previous Summit Speakers Include

  • Gregory S. Baylor, Director, Center for Religious Schools, and Senior Counsel, Center for Legislative Advocacy of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)
  • Hon. Winsome Earle-Sears, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
  • Dr. Michael Lindsay, President of Taylor University
  • Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) 
  • Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma)
  • Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Hon. Patricia Puertas Rucker, West Virginia State Senator 
  • John Schilling, former President of American Federation for Children
  • Dr. Stanley Carlson-Thies, Founder and Senior Director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance (IRFA), a division of the Center for Public Justice.
  • and many more!
Museum of the Bible Venue


Museum of the Bible Venue

We are thrilled to share that ALL event sessions will be held at Museum of the Bible this year!




Hotel Information


Hotel Information

We have two different hotel options this year, with both offering complimentary breakfast as part of their room fee. Please see below for links to reserve your room!




333 E St. SW Washington, D.C., 20024


Residence Inn

  • Room Rate: $289 plus tax
  • Queen/King Rooms Available
  • Breakfast is Complimentary
  • Rooms come with Sofa Bed


Book your stay at Residence Inn 


400 E Street SW, Washington, D.C., 20024


Hyatt Place
  • Room Rate: $249 plus tax
  • Queen/King Rooms Available
  • Breakfast is Complimentary
  • Rooms come with Sofa Bed

PLEASE NOTE: THE HYATT IS NOW FULL. If you would like to be put on a waiting list for any cancellations please send an email to: . Please register for the Residence Inn to ensure your stay.

Funding Assistance


Professional Development Funding Assistance

Did you know you can receive Title II-A funding which may help cover partial or total costs of this program? 

Download Requesting Title II, Part A Funding Guide. This PDF document provides guidance for administrators requesting Title II, Part A services including recommendations for working with an LEA and considerations for developing a request.


Learn More About Title II-A Funding





Contact the ACSI Public Policy & Legal Affairs Department


Email the Public Policy & Legal Affairs Department